Publication and access cycle
What do the terms “publication type” and “structure of literature” mean? This module will help you gain a sense of the context in which health sciences literature appears. You will examine the characteristics of publication types, the contents of a health sciences journal, the components of a research article, and the organization of a structured abstract.
First, you will look at the publication cycle and how to access health sciences literature. This will give you an understanding of the developmental pattern and sequence that health sciences literature typically follows and the tools we can use to access that literature at each step of the process.
|Develop and discuss idea||Lab notebooks, research diaries, emails, grant proposals||Limited public access (invisible college, grey literature)|
|Present preliminary research||Conference papers, proceedings, preprints||Specialized indexes, abstracts in journals, conference Web sites|
|Report research||Technical reports, dissertations, theses, research reports||Dissertation abstracts, professional association Web sites|
|Publish research||Scholarly journal articles||Citation indexes and full text databases (e.g. MEDLINE, CINAHL, PyscInfo, Science Citation Index)|
|Popularize||Popular magazines, newspapers, Web sites||Media outlets|
|Generalize and formalize||Encyclopedias, textbooks, clinical tools (e.g. UpToDate, First Consult)||Library catalogs, bibliographies, subscription databases|
Research literature begins with an idea. A researcher may be curious about an aspect of her discipline or perhaps a clinician encounters a challenge in practice. Initial recorded documentation about the researcher’s investigation of the topic may appear only in lab journals or email correspondence. For this reason, preliminary research is the most difficult to locate. Documentation may appear in what is known as the “grey literature” or “invisible college”. Such literature is not uniformly indexed, so it is difficult to find. This type of literature may consist of conference papers, abstracts, newsletters, or internal reports.
You’ll notice from the illustration below that research tends to follow a sequential process during the publication and access cycle. However, the influence of media and technology has somewhat altered the typical pattern of information distribution. The research presented for academic scrutiny in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal might also become simultaneously available in the popular media.
Eventually key research findings gain acceptance within the scientific community and are recognized globally. At this point the research becomes fully integrated in encyclopedias, textbooks, and clinical tools.